- Escalante's charm and its biggest problem is its remote location. It is not a destination but it is visited or driven through by thousands annually. Given this, Escalante does not have amenities to provide its visitors. For example, Tom and I stayed at Outfitter’s on a Sunday night in the off-season. It was fully booked, the café, one of two open, was slammed. It ran out of most food items and was turning people away. Maybe, if they build it, they will come? I know from living in Kanab, that the low season will not keep you in business. But in Escalante’s favor, it has a captive audience, and needs to attract and retain visitors long enough to create jobs and sustain business and a community.
- Schools - The U.S. birthrate is decreasing, eventually, Utah’s will too. One father from Boulder told me, there are two things for teenagers to do in that area – chemicals and sex – and that’s why he sent his daughter to school in Salt Lake City.
- Whiting closed the Escalante and Fredonia sawmills; both were dependent upon national forest timber. The Steeds re-started a sawmill, and according to the article, a fire was a major contributor to its demise. No mention if it was fully insured or not, I think not. A Fredonia sawmill rose from the sawdust and is expanding.
- Coal mines are closing not opening. Utah Power and Light is now a non-entity. Not sure when it researched the coal and power plant site. Rocky Mountain Power is Utah’s primary power source and it is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
- The price of crude oil is low. It’s not financially viable to drill in a remote location when there isn’t much oil, and getting it to a refinery is another issue. There are only two-lane roads and no rail.
- The federal government (we the people) owned the land prior to the creation of the Grand Staircase Monument.
- Houses were sold according to the article. Who bought them? Perhaps retirees did, or they were purchased as second homes, and neither usually have young families.
- Specialized, organic, small-scale ranching and farming are the trend but both are dependent upon soil, climate, and water.
In short, the residents need to be innovative and not depend on the federal government to support them. Kanab’s biggest payrolls come from Best Friends animal sanctuary and Stampin’ Up (a home-grown company), not tourism. Moab is another Utah community that “recovered” from a fuel-based (uranium) economy by capitalizing on its natural resources.
Copyright 2015 Joe Writes LLC